SF Talking Points: Female Politicians, Tech Gurus, and Soldiers

Women Rank As Most Effective Politicians: Don’t be discouraged by the Sarah Palins of America! Because just about all of the rest of our female politicians are, after rigorous criterion, found to be the most valuable of all of the lawmakers. Nevertheless, it is probably due to the “Jackie Robinson Effect” — that women, because they are a minority and less likely to be voted in to office (there was actually a net loss of female representation last year in the House of Representatives, while the amount of women in the Senate remained the same) have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to demonstrate that they belong there. Sadly, although researchers have found that bills that women sponsored “survived deeper into the legislative process, garnered more press attention, and were more likely to be deemed ‘important’ overall,” more than one out of five Americans say that they would not vote for a woman president.

Pretty, Pink, Sexist Flowchart Helps You Answer That Burning Question: “What Female Tech Influencer Are You?” There are so many things wrong with this. It would be nothing but hilariously stupid if it weren’t for the implication that, despite how far a woman will advance in her career and in the world, the shoes she wears, how she styles her hair, and her “dream man” are still the things that the public hangs on to. Shoes have nothing to do with technology! And the way the little blurbs underneath the women (who include COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, Google VP Marissa Mayer, and CNET.com journalist Caroline McCarthy) belittle their accomplishments… it all makes me cringe. Would anyone ever make something like this for Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates? I think not.

Women Should Be Allowed To Serve In Combat: At least that’s what a US government commission, comprised of current, retired, and senior non-commissioned officers have finally decided. Now, though, it’s not so much a concern of physical ability (though some would beg to differ) as it is of getting due credit. Women may not currently receive actual assignments to units expected to see combat, but, “they can be ‘attached’ to them and, in this way, fight in battles.” And because those female soldiers who have battlefield experience haven’t been acknowledged for it, women are falling farther behind in their military careers than men.

It’s a problem that has been laboriously debated with little progress — and it will probably remain somewhere in the big, untouched pile of unresolved issues up on Capitol Hill, since the recent repealing of DADT is on everyone’s minds. But the debate lingers because the concerns run deeper than the question of strength (not to say that that’s not still a bone of contention). Female soldiers have not settled on any guidelines if they were to be granted official permission to serve in combat: Would it be on a volunteer-basis, or would they be treated just like the men, with the same standards for assignments to combat arms units? And there are questions of women’s health that arise — some legitimate, some stupid (e.g. Would women be able to wash themselves during menstruation so as to avoid health problems? [legit] and What if women aren’t mentally stable enough for combat during PMS? [stupid]). Either way, the commission plans to present their conclusion to the President and Congress in March — which, at least, is a positive one — so we’re hoping that the women that make up 14% of the military will soon be able to advance as far as their male counterparts within it.


Author: Maura Hehir

Maura Hehir is a writer and student studying creative nonfiction writing at New York University. She volunteer-teaches a creative writing class to kids in Harlem and works in the marketing and design department at a bookstore.


  1. EML Vidfash says:

    Great post, Maura! Very interesting stuff there–a lot to consider as we head toward 2012!


  1. [...] Vice President Joe Biden (46 percent). We’re not surprised. I mean, women politicians are our most valuable, and besides Clinton’s exceptional work toward empowering women and girls all over the [...]

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